U.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without preconditions, backing away from a key U.S. demand that Pyongyang must first accept giving up its nuclear arsenal would be part of any negotiations.
Mr.Tillerson’s new diplomatic overture comes nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a ballistic missile [ICBM] which put the entire U.S.mainland within range of its nuclear weapons. “Let’s just meet,” Tillerson said in a speech to Washington’s Atlantic Council think tank on Tuesday.
The White House later issued an ambiguous statement that left unclear whether President Trump, who had said Tillerson was wasting his time pursuing dialogue with North Korea, had given his approval for the speech.
“The President’s views on North Korea have not changed,” the White House has said. “North Korea is acting in an unsafe way. North Korea’s actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea.”
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang stated China welcomed all efforts to ease tension and promote dialogue to resolve the problem. Ahead of Tillerson’s speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to develop more nuclear weapons while personally praising scientists and officials who contributed to the development of Pyongyang’s most advanced ICBM, state media said on Wednesday.